RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A manhunt is underway right now in Richmond. Police are searching for three teen suspects, wanted after a Richmond school employee was shot inside of a school building.
The shooting happened after hours at the Norrell Annex, near Norrell Elementary. It's a building students don't use.
Police say the building was secure, but the three suspects somehow got inside and opened fire on a woman finishing her day of work.
"The doors were secured, so we don't know how they got in," said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham. "That's what we're trying to investigate."
A 911 call alerted police to the shooting, but when officers made it the school, all of the doors were locked. The responding officer radioed for breaching equipment.
"Responding officers, they had to do a forced entry, if you will, to breach the door to get in," said Durham.
When the officers got inside, they located the female victim. She was sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says Richmond Public Schools (RPS) is helping the victim - and police with the investigation.
"We have sent staff over to support that employee and when I leave here, I'll be going by to see that employee," said Bedden.
As the responding officers were with the shooting victim, they discovered more employees inside. Officers continued to search the building and came across three other employees. None of them were injured.
The officers did not find any of the suspects during the search. Chief Durham says the suspects are three young African American males - one, in particular, stood out.
"One was dressed in black with a red bandanna covering his face," said Durham.
Now the chief is hoping that someone in the neighborhood saw any of the three suspects running away from the building this evening.
The shooting at the Annex building is also raising questions about security. There was no threat to students at any time because this is an administrative building, used for food nutrition services. However, it isn't the first time a crime happened here.
Just over the weekend, the building was burglarized. Now police are trying to determine if the two crimes are connected, as the school system re-evaluates its safety plan.
"Our staff returned to work today and noticed items had been disturbed, so we reported it as a burglary," said Bedden on Monday morning, before the shooting that occurred at the same building.
Police are now investigating to see how the teens were able to get inside despite the locked doors.
"We want our staff to be safe," said Bedden. "We'll be fully cooperating with the police force and [be] using any resources we have to solve this, taking the necessary action to hold those accountable who did this."
Dr. Bedden plans to work with his team to change the building's security plan before staff members return to work. RPS has slowly been moving staff out of the building, and the superintendent says the shooting will expedite that process.
Moving forward, RPS is giving police complete access to the security system in place at the building to help solve both of these cases.
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